COLES CO., IL. (ECWd) -
The State of Illinois Prisoner Review Board ("PRB") is a state agency whose members are appointed by the Governor of Illinois.
According to its website (here) the PRB is a quasi-judicial body and is tasked with making recommendations for parole and clemency to the Governor, among other things.
Their website lists 4 areas they are tasked with:
- bi-partisan, independent review, adjudication, and enforcement of behavioral rules for offenders;
- parole consideration reviews and decisions for all adult offenders with “indeterminate” sentences;
- hearings and confidential reports and recommendations to the Governor regarding all requests for executive clemency;
- protection and consideration of the rights and concerns of victims when making decisions or recommendations regarding parole, executive clemency, conditions of release, or revocation of parole or release.
PRB is a 15-member board, with 1 vacancy and 14 current board members, with at least 7 of them appointed by Governor Rauner, with Senate approval. The most recent appointment was Mr. John Clough, in March of 2017 (read his bio). He resides in Coles County.
Each board member rakes in $85,886 per year, with the chairman getting $95,872. We also understand from several sources, that they are given a state vehicle to drive with regular, non-government license plates on them.
In our opinion, each board member should be free from bias - especially racial bias - because their bias could certainly influence any decision they make, and could detrimentally impact the State of Illinois should bias be proven. Racial intolerance has no place on this board (or anywhere else) and cannot be allowed.
The racial makeup of Illinois State Prison Population as of 2014 was 57.6% Black - 29.2% White - 12.7% Hispanic, Asian and American Indian make up the remainder (see report here).
In a routine public records request to Coles County, we received notes and certain discipline information on John Clough from his time as Deputy Sherriff in Coles County. What we found was shocking, and we had to read it several times to figure out exactly what we had ahold of.
Watch our short video explanation below and continue reading after that:
Use of the word "Nig***"
On May 19, 2015, John Clough (while still a Coles County Deputy) was reported to have been "saying the word "Ni****" to other deputies, not once, but twice." Clough's supervisor was directed to counsel him on his use of the word "Ni****" and place it in his personnel file. See a snippet of the comments (here) or the entire document (here).
Ask yourself if this is the type of person who should be getting paid $85k+ by the State of Illinois to make decisions, with a racial bias against a particular group of people making up nearly 60% of the prison population.
This is unacceptable under any circumstance and makes us wonder if there was ever any proper background research completed prior to his appointment by Governor Rauner. According to Coles County Sheriff Rankin, no one contacted his office for any type of vetting of Clough prior to the appointment to the PRB.
We call on the remaining PRB members to immediately demand John Clough resign from the board, and we call on Governor Rauner to immediately remove him from this Board.
Governor Rauner's office has not responded to requests for comments.